In 2014, Mark moved from an apartment to a house with a garden, and he decided that he was ready to get a dog. He already had a cat, called Mister, and one of the key priorities was to make sure that the dog would not upset Mister in any way. Mark wanted to get a rescue dog, so he contacted local animal welfare groups to see what was available.
When he talked to the DSPCA, Mark was initially surprised when they immediately suggested Charlie. As a Greyhound cross bred, Mark assumed that he’d be a cat chaser. The DSPCA explained that this isn’t necessarily the case: when Greyhounds are familiar with cats, they often get on very well with them. Charlie had lived with cats previously, so he had proven that he would happily share his home with one. He settled in well with Mister, with one proviso: while he has no interest in bothering him around the home, if he sees any cat at the bottom of the garden (including Mister), he’ll rush after them. He’s never caught up with a cat, but Charlie just loves chasing anything that moves.
Mark had also thought that a Greyhound would need a lot of exercise, and again, Charlie has shown that this is not necessarily the case. Mark sometimes sends him to doggy daycare, in which case the socialising with other dogs is enough to wear him out for the day. On other days, Mark takes him to the local dog park, where a half-hour run around is enough to wear him out. Again, Charlie loves to run fast: his favourite game is to rush past another dog, egging them on to race after him. Charlie usually wins: few dogs are fast enough to catch him. On the rare occasion where he’s overtaken, Charlie doesn’t take it well. He falls to the ground, and lies there whining, as if he’s crying because he’s been beaten. Mark reckons he just loves to win, and if he doesn’t win, he’s devastated.
Charlie has also shown himself to be surprisingly good with children. Mark and his wife Jannie now have two fourteen-month old twins, and Charlie has always been gentle and good-natured around them. The only time he gets at all agitated is if he is being walked beside the children in their buggy, and a strange dog approaches. Charlie’s hackles go up, and he growls quietly, clearly telling the other dog to leave his children alone.
Mark feels strongly that Greyhound-type dogs deserve to be appreciated far more as pets. Recent statistics show 366 greyhounds ended up in Ireland’s dog pounds last year, with over 80% of them being dumped there by their owners. 55% of these dogs – over 200 of them – were subsequently euthanased, just because they were unwanted. Mark knows that many of these dogs would have made excellent pets, just like Charlie.
If you’re thinking of a new dog, why not consider a Greyhound type. Even if you have cats and children!